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Historic England Research Records

Starfish Bombing Decoy Sf10e

Hob Uid: 1345990
Location :
North Yorkshire
Scarborough
Sneaton, LCPs of Fylingdales and Hawsker-cum-Stainsacre
Grid Ref : NZ9012802966
Summary : A Second World War bombing decoy site at Sneaton Moor. It was built in June 1941 as a 'Strategic Starfish' site to deflect enemy bombing from the city of Middlesbrough. In 1942 a 'Strategic QL' decoy was incorporated into the site as part of the 'C-series' of civil decoys to protect the North East coast. The 'Starfish' decoy operated by lighting a series of controlled fires during an air raid to replicate an urban area targeted by bombs. The 'QL' decoy displayed muted lighting to simulate an urban area during a poor blackout. The 'Strategic' decoys were designed to replicate a general urban area rather than a specific town or city. The site is referenced as being operational until 1943. Elements were recorded as part of the North York Moors National Park NMP, visbile as earthworks, structures and cropmarks on air photographs. An extensive series of firebreaks survives at the site in near complete condition. Scheduled.
More information : Earthwork remains of a World War II bombing decoy protecting Middlesbrough and Teesside industrial sites, operating between 1941 and 1943. Under the control of No 80 Wing RAF and maintained by RAF Middleton-St-George, the site utilised two decoy systems: the 'QL' and the 'Starfish'. The firebreaks for the latter are clearly visible. The site was decommissioned by 1944 and was used as a training site for D-Day as evidenced by the tank tracks.
(1)

A Second World War 'Permanent Starfish' bombing decoy located at Sneaton Moor (NZ 903 029). It was constructed to deflect enemy bombing from Middlesbrough. It is referenced as being in use on 01-MAR-1942. It was also the site of a 'Strategic QL' decoy, which was built as part of the 'C-series' of civil decoys to protect the North East coast. This is referenced as being in use between 02-OCT-1942 and 01-MAY-1943. A further civil decoy for the North East coast was located at Aldbrough (TA 258 373). Further 'Starfish' sites for Middlesbrough were located at Middleton (NZ 480 113), Kirkleatham (NZ 616 193), Osmotherley (SE 476 987), Guisborough (NZ 608 118) and Newton Bewley (NZ 475 260).
(2)

Aerial photography from 1972 shows that firebreaks survive at the site.
(3)

NGR concords with that given in source 2. The 'Strategic Starfish' site at Sneaton Moor was built in June 1941. The final decoy sites in the Middlesbrough system were decommissioned in early 1945. They were among the most successful bombing decoys of the war. The site at Sneaton Moor contains the most extensive surviving series of firebreaks, which are in near complete condition.
(4)

Elements of the Starfish site are visible as earthworks, structures and cropmarks on air photographs, centred at NZ 9044 0294. Firebreaks survive as clearly defined earthwork trenches forming a total of 10 potential enclosures. The equipment used to create the lighting effects resulted in parchments evident on vertical photography from September 1943. The Schedule entry records fragments of concrete and brick from decoy equipment and piece s of coal from the fires. However, only the firebreak trenches and a military road appear to be extant on the latest 2009 vertical photography. The location of the control shelter from where operations were coordinated has not been identified.
(5)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Scheduled Monument Notification
Source details : 28-Mar-01
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Twentieth century fortifications in England, volume 3. Bombing decoys of WWII : England's passive air defences, 1939-45
Source details :
Page(s) : 131,139,144,149,165
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 3
Source : Twentieth century military recording project: World War Two bombing decoy sites
Source details :
Page(s) : 56
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 4
Source : Fields of deception: Britain's bombing decoys of World War II
Source details :
Page(s) : 135,208,221,286
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 5
Source : Vertical aerial photograph reference number
Source details : NMR RAF/AC577 5077 23-SEP-1943
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : 20th Century
Display Date : World War II
Monument End Date : 1944
Monument Start Date : 1944
Monument Type : Military Training Site
Evidence : Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Second World War
Display Date : Built in 1941
Monument End Date : 1945
Monument Start Date : 1941
Monument Type : Starfish Site, Bombing Decoy, Military Road, Firebreak
Evidence : Earthwork, Documentary Evidence, Extant Structure, Cropmark

Components and Objects:
Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 34409
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (N Yorks Moors National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : 7652
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : SMR Number (N Yorks Moors National Park)
External Cross Reference Number : 58098
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : NZ 90 SW 64
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 29728
Relationship type : Is referred to by
Associated Monuments : 1469551
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1414277
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1415790
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1415789
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1469768
Relationship type : General association
Associated Monuments : 1533223
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, LANDSCAPES OF WAR RECORDING PROJECT
Activity type : MEASURED SURVEY
Start Date : 2008-01-01
End Date : 2009-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, ENGLISH HERITAGE: NORTH YORK MOORS NATIONAL PARK NMP
Activity type : AERIAL PHOTOGRAPH INTERPRETATION
Start Date : 2010-06-01
End Date : 2011-05-01